Monday, June 27, 2022

PM to take nation into confidence over economic decisions tomorrow

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is expected to take the nation into confidence tomorrow (Friday) over ‘tough’ economic decisions finalized by coalition government to steer the country out of the current political and economic crises, ARY News reported on Thursday citing sources.

Well-placed sources say that Prime Minister Shehbaz has completed consultations with the heads of coalition parties over important issues.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif recently held a consultative session with government allies and took them into confidence about the decisions taken during his meeting with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in London.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, Jamiat-e- Ulema Islam (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) convener Khalid Maqbool Siddique and other party heads met with Shehbaz Sharif at PM House.

‘TOUGH DECISIONS’: PM SHEHBAZ SHARIF LIKELY TO ADDRESS NATION

They discussed in detail the current political situation in the country.

IMF talks

Pakistan opened much delayed talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday to resume a seventh review of the $6 billion rescue package agreed in 2019.

“Talks with the IMF mission started today,” a statement from the finance ministry said. It said a team led by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and the central bank’s acting governor will join the talks virtually.

The talks will continue until May 25 before the IMF takes a decision.

The South Asian nation is in dire need of external funds, with foreign reserves falling to as low as $10.3 billion and a widening current account deficit.

Pakistan has already requested the lender to increase the size and duration of its $6 billion programme.

Ismail made the request in his visit to Washington last month, which was followed by a statement from the IMF, which said Islamabad had agreed to roll back unfunded subsidies to the oil and power sectors.

Islamabad has so far received $3 billion, with the programme due to end later this year.

Officials are seeking an extension to the programme through to June 2023, as well as the release of the next tranche of $1 billion.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took power with a coalition that removed Khan in a no-confidence vote last month, has vowed to jumpstart the moribund economy, but analysts say his fragile government has failed to take tough decisions.

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